Virtual Display Case Paragon Lake

paragon-lake-screen1While at the “The Smart Jewelry Show” in Chicago I notice quite a buzz about a new business offer by a company, Paragon Lake. They have created a highly interactive web based “Virtual Display Case.” Paragon Lake has effectively broken the boundaries between live jewelry and the virtual world. Their virtual display case will go a long way to engage the consumer in the buying process.
The current business model offers retail jewelers a slick HP touch screen computer and in store training for a meager $2000. They also refund a large portion of that investment as the system is used in the store. They are capping the new users they can roll out the first stage, so jewelers were scrambling for their wallets in Chicago.
For more information go to http://www.paragonlake.com/

Preserve a memory

picture-in-diamondThe science of nano-photography has entered the world of gemology and pulling heart strings. Now offered by a US company, Gemory, you can send them a diamond and a photo and they will “safely injected (the photo) just beneath the surface of your diamond without damaging the surface.”
The photo will invisible to the naked eye, but can be viewed by their “GemmaView” a Nano-Photograph Viewer, sold separately.
So what does it cost? The nano-photography sets you back $1500 and the viewer cost $300.
One interesting fact, the process is reversible if you want to erase that memory form your diamond.

For more information, go to www.gemory.com

Social networking taking hold

tiffany2009 has been a big year for social networking! Adults and businesses are flooding to the media for various reasons. National jeweler, a retail jewelry trade magazine, recently reported that Tiffany and Co jumped into this arena by adding a T&C facebook page. For the full article click this link:

Tiffany taps into social-networking scene

In store surprise engagement on video

proposal3Applause to Roman Jewelers and the new happy couple! Great idea to offer their store for a surprise engagement “get together.” Even better that they captured it on video to share with the world. Great idea and a touching gesture to the engaged couple!

Watch video

Social Networks, Blogs Pass Email In Usage by Gavin O’Malley, Monday, March 9, 2009

myspacefbook-0310bThe rapidly evolving world of social networks and blogs has officially grown up.

Last year, the largest increase in visitors to such “member community” Web sites came from those ages 35-49, according to a new report from The Nielsen Co.

“Social networking isn’t just growing rapidly, it’s evolving–both in terms of a broader audience and compelling new functionality,” said Alex Burmaster, author of the study and communications director across EMEA for Nielsen Online.

But grow rapidly it did. In 2008, over two-thirds (67%) of the global online population visited what Nielsen dubs “member communities,” which include both social networks and blogs.

That placed “member communities” as the fourth-largest online category, ahead of “personal email.”

What’s more, the category grew twice as fast as any of the other four largest sectors, including search, portals, PC software and email.

According to the Nielsen report, Facebook–which has now surpassed MySpace as the world’s most popular social network–was visited monthly by three in every 10 people online across the nine markets in which Nielsen tracks social networking.

In Brazil, meanwhile, Google’s Orkut social network had the largest domestic online reach–70%–of any social network in these markets.

Germany saw the greatest increase in penetration of social networks and blogs across 2008, from 39% of the online audience in December 2007 to 51% in December 2008–a relative growth of 39%.

In addition, mobile is playing an increasingly important role in social networking, according to Nielsen. U.K. mobile Web users had the greatest propensity to visit a social network through their handset, with 23%–or roughly 2 million people–doing so, compared to 19% in the U.S.–or some 10.6 million people.

This year, said John Burbank, CEO of Nielsen Online, “social networking will continue to alter not just the global online landscape, but the consumer experience at large.”

Understanding the WE movement

If you want to understand your future as a business person in this new business environment, go to this website and watch the video about the new generation of customers and learn what they care about.    http://www.gen-we.org/
I think the video really gives you a great perspective on the shifting world business and cultural paradigm!

Sometimes irrelevant is fantastic!

boucheron-necklaceI ran across these photos in Wallpaper magazine of the necklace that was designed by Shaun Leane and created by Boucheron to celebrate their 150th anniversary. There is nothing at all “relevant” about this necklace, but it’s irrelevance makes it truly remarkable! Here’s to Boucheron’s incredible legacy of making the world more beautiful, one jewel at a time!

The picture below show the necklace with the buds of the night blooming “Queen of the night” open. There are hidden buttons that open and close the buds. The large lilac sapphire can also be removed and worn separately.

boucheron-necklace-open

Recipe for creating a tribe

Great book!

Great book!

In today’s market place, it is possible to create a tribe of “fans of your brand” using some planning and the vast array of social networking tools. So what is the formula?
First, discern what makes your brand different. This is a very important challenge. Often it is you and your staff that makes up your business “DNA.” Think about these people not in term of who they are and what they look and act like, but in the unique talents they are. Begin to speak those talents until that becomes part of your store identity. If a staff person leaves, he or she takes their part of that identity with them. That does not mean that those talents aren’t replaceable. The important part is to create the recipe of talents you want your store to be and speak that recipe.
The second part of creating your jewelry tribe is living up to your promises and exceeding expectation. It is very important that everyone in your store understands the importance of all promises that are made. It is always better to not promise something and then be able to achieve the goal, than the reverse. Make your promises very carefully. Next is exceeding expectation. The current “bar” for expectation is very low and getting lower. Service is an expensive part of a business and is often a place that owners become cheap about. That is great news! To exceed expectation, you only need to be a little better that what the consumer is used to other places. In other words, your store can be pretty average and still exceed expectation, but this is not what I am advocating. I think your business service needs to shine! This makes your satisfaction level go “through the roof” and your customers become the best source of advertising you could ever have!
Now, it is time to create tribe! With the current social networking tools that are available, you create a “space” to connect all of your businesses advocates and let them tell your story. If you have done a good job on the first two steps, the third happens with very little encouragement. If you want to see what one of our (Krombholz Jewelers) spaces looks like and does, become a fan of Krombholz on facebook!

Diamonds, white metals snag Grammy spotlight

Jennifer HudsonLos Angeles–Coldplay, Jennifer Hudson and John Mayer were among the recording artists who scooped up top honors at last night’s 51st Annual Grammy Awards, but in terms of jewelry, diamonds set in white metals were the night’s big winners.

While the Grammys are generally noted for their more outlandish displays of fashion, a number of men and women performing and presenting on the Feb. 8 stage went classic in terms of their jewelry choices, especially with diamond jewelry.

Diamond drop earrings were ubiquitous, as were vintage pieces, line bracelets and right-hand rings.

Best New Artist winner Adele performed her “Chasing Pavements” hit in Stephen Russell diamond drop earrings, an antique diamond-flower brooch and an antique diamond and tortoise-shell hair comb. And “I Kissed a Girl” crooner Katy Perry played up her retro Varga-girl style in an H. Stern vintage diamond bracelet, diamond floral ring and diamond “Sofia” bangle, finished off with Jacob and Co. princess-cut diamond drop earrings set in platinum.

American Idol alum and Grammy nominee Jordin Sparks picked a diamond link bracelet, diamond stud earrings and ring from Damiani, while fellow nominee Sara Bareilles chose diamond and platinum bracelets, earrings and a ring, all from Neil Lane.

And the guys didn’t lay low on the diamonds either. Jamie Foxx chose diamond stud earrings and cuff links by Neil Lane, while Jay-Z picked Lane’s diamond and black onyx tie pin and diamond shirt studs. Grammy winner Lil Wayne went the black diamond route, choosing a Chris Aire watch with a full black diamond case, dial and bracelet.

In addition to the more traditional styles, playful looks weren’t too far off. Whitney Houston helped to open the show in a Lorraine Schwartz cuff bracelet and disco-ready fan earrings, both in blackened platinum with diamonds, while Gwyneth Paltrow paired a metallic mini-dress with silver-toned earrings plus a heart-shaped diamond ring from Chopard. Miley Cyrus proved that she’s already a veteran in jewelry wardrobing, expertly mixing Lorree Rodkin and Stephen Webster pieces for her performance with Taylor Swift. Meanwhile, Jennifer Hudson accepted her Grammy for best R and B album in a Cartier diamond and onyx panther cuff and long, geometrically shaped diamond earrings.

Reprinted from February 09, 2009 National Jeweler

Music is the key to atmosphere

Andrew Bird's new album

Andrew Bird's new album

I have engaged in debates with other retail jewelers about whether or not we should play music in our stores. I am firmly on the “play music” side of that discussion. Music is a very important part of my life.

So for the stores that play music, what sort of music should be we play? I believe that it should represent music that would make you target customers feel at ease. So what is that for your store?

My store, in a suburban neighborhood of Cincinnati, is targeting the 20 to 30 something crowd. For me, our store music has to be up to date, but still appropriate for are older customers (and staff). Here is a link to some interesting new music to sample what is “relevant”. http://flavorwire.com/7886/january-hit-list-10-essential-downloads-for-early-09

I bought an IPod that connects to our store music system and through that I create playlist of “store music.” You can use this link to go to ITunes and listen to one of my store mixes. This particular one was created to play during parties at our store, so imagine drinking your favorite beverage, looking at beautiful jewelry, interesting art, meeting interesting people and hearing this music:

http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewIMix?id=303641436

Let me know what you think by adding a comment below!